Florence A. White Eagle Found Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that on June 23, 2011, in Great Falls, after a federal district court trial before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, FLORENCE A. WHITE EAGLE, a 63-year-old resident of Poplar, was found guilty of Count I - Conspiracy, Count II - Theft From an Indian Tribal Organization, Count III - Bribery, Count IV - Concealment of Public Corruption, Count V - Engaging in Public Acts Affecting a Personal Financial Interest, and Count VI - Misprision of a Felony. Sentencing is set for October 27, 2011. She is currently released on special conditions.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
The charges stemmed from two intertwined but separately identifiable series of events. The first was the taking of a $15,000 loan from the Fort Peck Credit Program while at the same time assisting a co-conspirator, Toni Greybull, in her efforts to suppress a complaint lodged by Greybull's mother that fraudulent loans had been taken out in her name. That series of events - from September 2007 until Greybull's death in March 2008 - is the subject of the first three counts.
The second series of events which underlie the remaining counts - from May 2008 until July 2008 - involve the disclosure by Linda Christiansen, Greybull's sister, that Greybull, with Christiansen's knowledge and assistance, had fraudulently extracted funds from the Credit Program. Instead of disclosing to her supervisors or the Office of Inspector General, as she was required to do, WHITE EAGLE facilitated the repayment of the fraudulent loans so that Christiansen's objections to liability would be satisfied, and her prior prohibited loans would not be discovered.
From August 12, 1999, to May 29, 2009, hundreds of fraudulent checks exceeding $1 million were issued from the checking accounts of the Fort Peck Tribal Credit Department. The United States Attorney's Office has charged and convicted ten individuals related to the same fraudulent scheme.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad prosecuted the case for the United States.
This was a very significant investigation for the Office of Inspector General that would not have been possible without the hard work of AUSA Rostad and DOI-OIG Resident Agent-in-Charge Joseph Waller. We hope that the verdict in this case conveys to Indian Country and the public that the DOI-OIG is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the Department and its employees," said Jack L. Rohmer, Special Agent-in-Charge for the Central Region of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Inspector General.
The verdict in United States v. Florence White Eagle is an important step towards protecting the integrity of not only the Fort Peck Tribe, but of Tribal Governments around the state of Montana. Yesterday's verdict sends a strong message to federal employees in positions of authority who violate the trust of the federal government throughout Indian Country - the U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to detect, investigate and prosecute fraud in Montana." United States Attorney Michael W. Cotter.
WHITE EAGLE WHITE EAGLE faces possible penalties of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release for bribery; five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release for each of the following offenses: conspiracy to convert tribal credit program proceeds by federal employees, theft and conversion from an Indian tribal organization, concealment of public corruption, and public acts affecting a personal financial interest; and three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 1 year supervised release if convicted of misprision of a felony.
The investigation was conducted by the Inspector General's Office - U.S. Department of Interior.